Photographer Lorentz Gullachsen brought the 'wild west' to West Midlands Open, taking the £1,000 first prize at the exhibition's awards ceremony held at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery's Gas Hall on 4 March for his portrait of a Bricklayer in a cowboy's outfit.
The piece, entitled In the American West Midlands, Kenny Ashurst, Bricklayer, St Helens, Merseyside (2009), comes from a larger body of work where Lorentz has photographed numerous profiles of people dressed in various cowboy attire.
Judges at West Midlands Open's awards ceremony picked three of the best artworks from over 100 short-listed. With first prize taken, the £500 second prize went to James O'Hanlon with his From the rooftop of Reuters - West Bank (2010), and Tobias Saunders' Documentation for Copyright (2007) received the £250 third prize.
An independent panel of judges had the difficult task of selecting the best three from 146 artworks that will go on public display from 6 March until 2 May. In total over 1,200 original entries were submitted for consideration by over 500 regionally based artists.
The panel of judges consisted of Lubaina Himid - Professor of Contemporary Art at University of Central Lancashire, the artist Harminder Singh Judge and curator Alex Boyd - curator at the Oriel Davies Gallery in Powys, Wales.
Alex Boyd, said: "The process of selecting the prize-winning works was unanimous and we were each drawn to the three winning pieces. It seemed that these had the strength to stand up on their own, to have a presence beyond that of the artist as an individual and to engage with critical dialogues within contemporary arts practices.
Councillor Martin Mullaney, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Sport and Culture, said: "The judges had the extremely difficult task of selecting the three best from wealth of regional talent shown in West Midlands Open. It is great that, with the Gas Hall at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham can offer these artists such a prestigious venue to show their work.
The West Midlands Open exhibition is also offering an opportunity to purchase the original artwork on display which buyers will be able to take home when the exhibition closes.
For further information please visit the Birmingham Museum